Tories refuse cross-party libraries committee

Barnet’s Conservative councillors have refused a proposal to set-up a cross party committee to draw up new options for the borough’s library service, stating that the public have already had their opportunity to have their say on libraries.
 
The proposal, made by Labour’s Libraries’ spokesperson Cllr Anne Hutton at Monday night’s Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding Committee (CELS), called for residents to be allowed to give evidence to the dedicated committee about how they wanted the library service to be developed. The proposed committee would also look at best practice from other councils.
 
Barnet council are planning to cut the library service by £2.85 million or 60% which will mean either mass library closures, a 50% reduction in staffing hours and dramatic reductions in library floor-space of up to 93%.
 
Cllr Hutton said:
 
“Residents have clearly rejected as unacceptable the council’s three options for the library service, but the Barnet Conservatives just will not listen.
 
“They are refusing to share the results of their public consultation until September and by then there will be very little time left to prevent these cuts going ahead.
 
“Over 10,000 people have signed petitions to stop these libraries cuts, and as a result the Tories agreed at the March council meeting to consider whether further consultation was needed – but this has now been ruled out.
 
“The Tories’ stance at the March council meeting has now been laid bare as delaying tactics – as we said at the time.”
Ends.
Notes:
 
1.       A copy of Cllr Hutton’s proposal at CELS this week: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s22637/Members%20Item%20-%20Cllr%20Hutton%20-%20Libraries.pdf 
 
2. More information on libraries cuts: 
 
To contact Cllr Hutton: cllr.a.hutton@barnet.gov.uk
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568
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